28 April 2010

Philanthropic Shopping

I recommend laying up a store of greeting cards, like a hope chest--cards for the successes you hope your family and friends will have, cards for your friends--things you could say to them every day, cards for people you hope you'll meet, because you have things to say to them.

My mother, my grandmothers, and my father's sisters all save and send cards. They send little pieces of love to their dear ones on special days and they make ordinary days special by sending love.

Cards are more than letters. They convey with pictures sentiments words cannot. They can even be on occasion, decorative. -- Stacked in an arch over a doorway at holiday time or stood on the mantel on a birthday. They are little testaments to love, our year-round and just-because valentines.

You can make cards; it is both fun and inexpensive. Making your own cards allows for greater artistic control and the ability to tailor a card specifically for it's recipient. I've used tissue paper to create texture and depth and shades of color. I've occasionally used clip art.

My baby sister sent me a beautiful handmade card for my birthday this year--with an intricate hand drawn and colored "happy birthday" on one side, and a bright, filigreed "be happy now" sunrise on the other. It merits framing.

I have a few favorite card lines I've recently discovered at a local store, Megan Morrison. Vermont artist Kathleen Sawyer is responsible for the lovely Local Wisdom Greeting Card line:

Curly Girl Designs:

Curly Girl and Positively Green Cards, both make their cards of recycled paper with soy-based ink. Positively Green:

So whether homemade or purchased, greeting cards communicate love in an aesthetically pleasing way. I recommend buying them up now so that by and by they'll be there, ready to carry your love.

Philanthropic shopping doesn't just include greeting cards.  ProFlowers has well-priced bouquets ready to ship, with your personalized note and a complimentary vase, right to the door of your loved one. The other day, I made a bouquet list--with a bouquet for each of my special ladies.

Also, start adding gift ideas to your Amazon Wish List. You can then ship things to other people's doors whenever fancy strikes. I've done this too, as well as been the recipient of surprise packages.
The love of, the practice of, indeed, the art of shopping is so much more than completing your wardrobe or your home. You can use your love of and skill in shopping to improve the lives of others--one greeting card, one flower, one smiley-faced package at a time!

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